In 1922, the same year that saw the establishment of the Czechoslovak Football Association, a former singer and cabaret director from Prague published a novel about soccer. Eighty-six years later, that novel, Eduard Bass’s The Chattertooth Eleven, has been reprinted more than thirty times, has been made into a film, and has become one of the most popular works of Czech fiction.
The novel tells the extraordinary adventures of an ordinary father, Chattertooth, and his eleven sons—whom he has raised as an unbeatable soccer team. This humorous tale—set in the aftermath of World War I—celebrates fair play and perseverance while simultaneously taking a gently ironic stance towards the Czech infatuation with soccer. This edition, in a new graphic layout by Zdenek Ziegler, is accompanied by charming illustrations by Jirí Grus.
Delving into the history of gambling and corruption in intercollegiate sports, Cheating the Spread recounts all of the major gambling scandals in college football and basketball. Digging through court records, newspapers, government documents, and university archives and conducting private interviews, Albert J. Figone finds that game rigging has been pervasive and nationwide throughout most of the sports' history. The insidious practice has spread to implicate not only bookies and unscrupulous gamblers but also college administrators, athletic organizers, coaches, fellow students, and the athletes themselves.
Naming the players, coaches, gamblers, and go-betweens involved, Figone discusses numerous college basketball and football games reported to have been fixed and describes the various methods used to gain unfair advantage, inside information, or undue profit. His survey of college football includes early years of gambling on games between established schools such as Yale, Princeton, and Harvard; Notre Dame's All-American halfback and skilled gambler George Gipp; and the 1962 allegations of insider information between Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and former Georgia coach James Wallace "Wally" Butts; and many other recent incidents. Notable events in basketball include the 1951 scandal involving City College of New York and six other schools throughout the East Coast and the Midwest; the 1961 point-shaving incident that put a permanent end to the Dixie Classic tournament; the 1978 scheme in which underworld figures recruited and bribed several Boston College players to ensure a favorable point spread; the 1994-95 Northwestern scandal in which players bet against their own team; and other recent examples of compromised gameplay and gambling.
Chuck Noll: His Life's Work
Michael MacCambridge University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016 Library of Congress GV939.N65M33 2016 | Dewey Decimal 796.332092
Chuck Noll won four Super Bowls and presided over one of the greatest football dynasties in history, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the ‘70s. Later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his achievements as a competitor and a coach are the stuff of legend. But Noll always remained an intensely private and introspective man, never revealing much of himself as a person or as a coach, not even to the players and fans who revered him.
Chuck Noll did not need a dramatic public profile to be the catalyst for one of the greatest transformations in sports history. In the nearly four decades before he was hired, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the least successful team in professional football, never winning so much as a division title. After Noll’s arrival, his quiet but steely leadership quickly remolded the team into the most accomplished in the history of professional football. And what he built endured well beyond his time with the Steelers – who have remained one of America’s great NFL teams, accumulating a total of six Super Bowls, eight AFC championships, and dozens of division titles and playoff berths.
In this penetrating biography, based on deep research and hundreds of interviews, Michael MacCambridge takes the measure of the man, painting an intimate portrait of one of the most important figures in American football history. He traces Noll’s journey from a Depression-era childhood in Cleveland, where he first played the game in a fully integrated neighborhood league led by an African-American coach and then seriously pursued the sport through high school and college. Eventually, Noll played both defensive and offensive positions professionally for the Browns, before discovering that his true calling was coaching. MacCambridge reveals that Noll secretly struggled with and overcame epilepsy to build the career that earned him his place as “the Emperor” of Pittsburgh during the Steelers’ dynastic run in the 1970s, while in his final years, he battled Alzheimer’s in the shelter of his caring and protective family.
Noll’s impact went well beyond one football team. When he arrived, the city of steel was facing a deep crisis, as the dramatic decline of Pittsburgh’s lifeblood industry traumatized an entire generation. “Losing,” Noll said on his first day on the job, “has nothing to do with geography.” Through his calm, confident leadership of the Steelers and the success they achieved, the people of Pittsburgh came to believe that winning was possible, and their recovery of confidence owed a lot to the Steeler’s new coach. The famous urban renaissance that followed can only be understood by grasping what Noll and his team meant to the people of the city. The man Pittsburghers could never fully know helped them see themselves better. Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work tells the story of a private man in a very public job. It explores the family ties that built his character, the challenges that defined his course, and the love story that shaped his life. By understanding the man himself, we can at last clearly see Noll’s profound influence on the city, players, coaches, and game he loved. They are all, in a real sense, heirs to the football team Chuck Noll built.
In Circling the Bases, leading sports economist Andrew Zimbalist continues his discussion and analysis of the major issues and challenges confronting the sports industry in the second decade of the 21st century. Presenting a general overview of the sports business at both the college and professional levels, this volume places concerns such as the antitrust status of sports leagues, the stalled progress of gender equity in college sports, and the control of Performance Enhancing Drugs in historical context.
Zimbalist also provides a deeper understanding of how sports have fared and changed with the sharpening financial crisis and 2009 economic downturn—from the morphing role of salary caps and revenue distribution and the rapid escalation of college coaches' compensation to the financing of sports facilities and the economic impact of hosting the Olympic Games.
In Circling the Bases, Zimbalist continues to show how the business of sports is evolving and how the sports industry is becoming more closely linked with the corporate sector and thus more vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the U.S. and world economies. Zimbalist deftly shows how sports are facing the uncertainties of the future and what the implications are for sports fans, players, owners, and leagues.
Comprehensive and thoughtful, City Games looks at the complex interrelationship and interdependency between sport and the city. Steven A. Riess shows how demographic growth, evolving special arrangements, social reform, the formulation of class and ethnic subcultures, the expansion of urban government, and the rise of political machines and crime syndicates all interacted to influence the development of sports in the United States.
Many legendary men have been associated with University of Texas football, but for most fans one man will always be “Coach”—Darrell K Royal. One of the most successful coaches in college football, Royal led the Longhorns to three national championships and eleven Southwest Conference titles during his twenty years (1956-1976) as UT's head coach. He coached some of the Horns' best players, including future Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell, and was named NCAA Coach of the Year three times. In 1969, an ABC-TV poll of sportswriters called Royal the Coach of the Decade. In 1996 UT recognized his unrivalled contribution to Longhorn football when it designated Memorial Stadium the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in his honor. Now, for the first time, Darrell Royal tells his life story in his own words. He remembers growing up poor in Hollis, Oklahoma, during the Great Depression, and describes playing college football for the University of Oklahoma and then coaching a succession of college teams and one pro team before settling in at UT for the rest of his career. He gives a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at Longhorn football during his time-recruiting strategies, coaching techniques, the famous wishbone offense, unforgettable wins and losses, and his impressions of rival teams and coaches, including Bear Bryant of Texas A&M and Alabama and Frank Broyles of Arkansas. Proving that he's still the same straight shooter as always, Darrell Royal even discusses some of the controversies he's dealt with, including early charges of racism in the UT football program, the impact of Title IX on women's athletics, his association with Jim Bob Moffett and the Freeport-MacMoRan Corporation, his longtime friendship with Willie Nelson, and his decision to retire from coaching. But whether he's describing the tough times he's faced professionally and personally or the rewards of being UT's most beloved coach and goodwill ambassador, Royal maintains the same plainspoken honesty and sense of honor that—as much as the winning seasons—have made him a legend to so many people.
It is the early Cold War. The Soviet Union appears to be in irresistible ascendance and moves to exploit the Olympic Games as a vehicle for promoting international communism. In response, the United States conceives a subtle, far-reaching psychological warfare campaign to blunt the Soviet advance.
Drawing on newly declassified materials and archives, Toby C. Rider chronicles how the U.S. government used the Olympics to promote democracy and its own policy aims during the tense early phase of the Cold War. Rider shows how the government, though constrained by traditions against interference in the Games, eluded detection by cooperating with private groups, including secretly funded émigré organizations bent on liberating their home countries from Soviet control. At the same time, the United States utilized Olympic host cities as launching pads for hyping the American economic and political system. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, the government attempted clandestine manipulation of the International Olympic Committee. Rider also details the campaigns that sent propaganda materials around the globe as the United States mobilized culture in general, and sports in particular, to fight the communist threat.
Deeply researched and boldly argued, Cold War Games recovers an essential chapter in Olympic and postwar history.
Despite their influence in our culture, sports inspire dramatically less philosophical consideration than such ostensibly weightier topics as religion, politics, or science. Arguing that athletic playfulness coexists with serious underpinnings, and that both demand more substantive attention, Daniel Dombrowski harnesses the insights of ancient Greek thinkers to illuminate contemporary athletics.
Dombrowski contends that the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus shed important light on issues—such as the pursuit of excellence, the concept of play, and the power of accepting physical limitations while also improving one’s body—that remain just as relevant in our sports-obsessed age as they were in ancient Greece. Bringing these concepts to bear on contemporary concerns, Dombrowski considers such questions as whether athletic competition can be a moral substitute for war, whether it necessarily constitutes war by other means, and whether it encourages fascist tendencies or ethical virtue. The first volume to philosophically explore twenty-first-century sport in the context of its ancient predecessor, Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Ideals reveals that their relationship has great and previously untapped potential to inform our understanding of human nature.
Controversy erupted in spring 2001 when Chicago’s mostly white Southside Catholic Conference youth sports league rejected the application of the predominantly black St. Sabina grade school. Fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, interracialism seemed stubbornly unattainable, and the national spotlight once again turned to the history of racial conflict in Catholic parishes. It’s widely understood that midcentury, working class, white ethnic Catholics were among the most virulent racists, but, as Crossing Parish Boundaries shows, that’s not the whole story.
In this book, Timothy B. Neary reveals the history of Bishop Bernard Sheil’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), which brought together thousands of young people of all races and religions from Chicago’s racially segregated neighborhoods to take part in sports and educational programming. Tens of thousands of boys and girls participated in basketball, track and field, and the most popular sport of all, boxing, which regularly filled Chicago Stadium with roaring crowds. The history of Bishop Sheil and the CYO shows a cosmopolitan version of American Catholicism, one that is usually overshadowed by accounts of white ethnic Catholics aggressively resisting the racial integration of their working-class neighborhoods. By telling the story of Catholic-sponsored interracial cooperation within Chicago, Crossing Parish Boundaries complicates our understanding of northern urban race relations in the mid-twentieth century.
The Crown Games were the apex of competition in ancient Greece. Along with prestigious athletic contests in honor of Zeus at Olympia, they comprised the Pythian Games for Apollo at Delphi, the Isthmian Games for Poseidon, and the Nemean Games, sacred to Zeus. For over nine hundred years, the Greeks celebrated these athletic and religious festivals, a rare point of cultural unity amid the fierce regional independence of the numerous Greek city-states and kingdoms.
The Crown Games of Ancient Greece examines these festivals in the context of the ancient Greek world, a vast and sprawling cultural region that stretched from modern Spain to the Black Sea and North Africa. Illuminating the unique history and features of the celebrations, David Lunt delves into the development of the contest sites as sanctuaries and the Panhellenic competitions that gave them their distinctive character. While literary sources have long been the mainstay for understanding the evolution of the Crown Games and ancient Greek athletics, archaeological excavations have significantly augmented contemporary understandings of the events. Drawing on this research, Lunt brings deeper context to these gatherings, which were not only athletics competitions but also occasions for musical contests, dramatic performances, religious ceremonies, and diplomatic summits—as well as raucous partying. Taken as a circuit, the Crown Games offer a more nuanced view of ancient Greek culture than do the well-known Olympian Games on their own. With this comprehensive examination of the Crown Games, Lunt provides a new perspective on how the ancient Greeks competed and collaborated both as individuals and as city-states.
Curt Flood, former star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, is a hero to many for selflessly sacrificing his career to challenge the legality of baseball’s reserve system. Although he lost his case before the Supreme Court, he has become for many a martyr in the eventually successful battle for free agency. Sportswriters and fans alike have helped to paint a picture of Flood as a larger-than-life figure, a portrait that, unhappily, cannot stand closer inspection. This book reveals the real Curt Flood—more man than myth.
Flood stirred up a hornet’s nest by refusing to be traded from the Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1969 season, arguing that Major League Baseball’s reserve system reduced him to the status of bondage. Flood decided to resist a system in which his contract could be traded without his consent and in which he was not at liberty to negotiate his services in an open market. Stuart Weiss examines the man behind the decision, exploring the span of Flood’s life and shedding light on his relationships with those who helped shape his determination to sue baseball and providing a new perspective on the lawsuit that found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although a superb player, Flood was known to be temperamental and sensitive; in suing Major League Baseball he transformed his grievances against the Cardinals front office into an attack on how the business of big-league ball was conducted. Weiss shows that Flood was far from the stereotypical “dumb jock” but was rather a proud, multifaceted black man in a business run by white moguls. By illuminating Flood’s private side, rarely seen by the public, he reveals how Flood misled a gullible press on a regular basis and how his 1971 memoir, The Way It Is, didn’t tell it the way it really was.
Drawing on previously untapped sources, Weiss examines more fully and deeply than other writers the complexities of Flood’s decision to pursue his lawsuit—and demonstrates that the picture of Flood as a martyr for free agency is a myth. He suggests why, of all the players traded or sold through the years, it was Flood who brought this challenge. Weiss also explains how Flood’s battle against the reserve system cannot be understood in isolation from the personal experiences that precipitated it, such as his youth in a dysfunctional home, his troubled first marriage, his financial problems, and his unwavering commitment to the Cardinals.
The Curt Flood Story is a realistic account of an eloquent man who presented a warm, even vulnerable, face to the public as well as to friends, while hiding his inner furies. It shows that Flood was neither a hero nor a martyr but a victim of unique circumstances and his own life.
"Boxing is not just fighting," writes Carlo Rotella. "It is also training and living right and preparing to go the distance in the broadest sense of the phrase, a relentless managing of self that anyone who gets truly old must learn." Rotella's Cut Time chronicles his immersion in the fight world, from the brutal classroom of the gym to the spectacle of fight night. An award-winning writer and ringside veteran, Rotella unearths the hidden wisdom in any kind of fight, from barroom brawl to HBO extravaganza.
Tracing the consequences of hurt and craft, the two central facts of boxing, Rotella reveals moving resonances between the worlds inside and outside the ropes. The brief, disastrous fistic career of one of his students pinpoints the moment when adulthood arrives; the hard-won insight of a fellow fan shows Rotella how to reckon with a car crash. Mismatches, resilience, pride, pain, and aging—Rotella's lessons from the ring extend far beyond the sport. In Cut Time, Rotella achieves the near-impossible: he makes the fight world relevant to us, whether we're fans or not.
"Cut Time should be read not just by fight aficionados but also by fans of intelligent nonfiction writing. . . . An absorbing read."—Sports Illustrated
"Just when you think it's all been written, a good writer takes a shining new look at an old subject and breathes life into it. . . . Rotella has preserved the blow-by-blow and the grandeur of another age but has somehow expanded the ring to include his own generation's proclivities and sensibility."—Los Angeles Times